Removing the four lower Snake River dams could be enough to bring salmon stocks back from the brink of extinction. That’s one conclusion from reporter Rocky Barker’s series on the fish in the Idaho Statesman, which wrapped up this month.
The fish have struggled for years to travel over the four dams as smolts heading to the sea from Idaho and back again a few years later to the Gem State to spawn.
Barker says he learned during his reporting that the future survival of the species may be dependent on the future existence of the dams.
“That’s what the scientists tell us, they tell me that’s the question ahead of us. And I don’t think it’s ever been placed that starkly ahead of our region. So we as a region will have to make a decision,” says Barker.
That decision, he says, would need to be made within the next five years or so.
Supporters of wild salmon have advocated for breaching the four dams saying it would help the fish survive. But power companies and farmers, who use the river to barge their commodities downstream, have resisted.
You can check out the salmon series, including videos showcasing those affected by the fish, here.
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